Saturday, July 28, 2012

Medical Negligence Conversations In Ireland

Earlier this year, I traveled to Ireland.  It was a joyful visit for me, both because my maternal grandparents were born there and because I had an opportunity to spend time with so many professionals in Cork who work in healthcare.   Patricia Mallon, founder of the Cork Resolution Center in Cork, invited me to do a training for attorneys in collaborative law in medical negligence cases.   I asked Patricia if we could invite other stakeholders, including physicians, other healthcare practitioners, risk managers, hospital administrators, medical and law school professors, mediators and others.  My thought was that the more stakeholder professionals we could involve in a workshop and dialogue, the more we could build community and create a network of professionals working toward collaborative, non-adversarial practices in situations involved medical negligence.  We gathered about thirty-five professionals from the various stakeholder groups feet forth above.

On the first day of the workshop, Margaret Murphy shared with us the compelling story of her son, Kevin, who, tragically, died at the age of 21 due to several medical errors.   Her story was so powerful.   Her devastation at the senseless death of her beloved son brought her to patient safety work, which has does, literally, around the world.   After her powerful story, I spoke to the group about the use of collaborative law, a process used traditionally in family law, both in the U.S. and in Ireland.   The group of about 35 worked through a hypothetical medical error case, a powerful opportunity for all members of the group to get to know each other and consider how they all might work together to bring a collaborative, non-adversarial process, quickly, after medical error situations.

Day 2, we met together in the morning for a dialogue at which we discussed how to build upon our conversations of the prior day, how to expand the network of professionals from that conversation, and  what next steps should the group take to continue to move the process forward.   Patricia and I agreed to write an article about the workshop and dialogue and publish it in a medical journal to keep the process moving and growing.

How wonderful to be there with all those Irish faces!

Stay tuned.